Sunday, July 30, 2017


What's up?  Our weekend was sort of busy, but pretty good.
My mom and dad are still out of the country, cruising around Scandinavia and Northern Europe while we're baking back here in Austin in 105 degree heat!
So last week Raylan got a full week at school without any breaks (usually his Grandma takes him one day a week).  He seemed to handle it just fine, though, and it might have even helped him settle into his school routine a little bit more fully, which is good.  Ever since he transitioned to his new school he's been in and out a lot with vacations and whatnot, so it's good for him to really settle in fully with his new teacher and class.
On Friday night I grabbed some pizza for us on our way home, and on Friday night Amy went and did some baby sitting over at Mandy's house.  Mandy's friend, Alicia, was in town visiting, with her 11 month old daughter, Camille.  Amy went over and did some babysitting so Mandy and Alicia could go out to dinner and meet up with some other friends.  I stayed home with Raylan.
On Saturday we got up and went out to breakfast at La Posada (which Raylan now specifically requests by name) and did some grocery shopping.  I tried to take a picture of Raylan to send to Mom in Europe.

When you ask Raylan to smile for a picture for Grandma, this is
what you get.

Afterwards we went to Garrison Pool.  We got there and they didn't have the kiddie pool open due to a lifeguard shortage.  I gave them a little bit of grief, since this has been a recurring problem over the course of the summer.  Either because of or in spite of my incessant whining, they opened the kiddie pool and put a lifeguard on it.  This, of course, guaranteed the fact that Raylan would have almost no interest in the kiddie pool and insist upon spending all of his time swimming in the big pool.
Whatever.  Plenty of other families rushed over to the kiddie pool as soon as they opened it, and Raylan had a lot of fun in the big pool.  He can't really swim yet, but he has a floatation harness with arm floaties, and he will happily paddle around the deeper pool now, even though he can't touch the bottom.

After the pool we had a shower and lunch.

"After this we're going back to the pool.  Right, Dad?"

Then Amy went over to Shelly and Kit's house to see if they needed any help getting organized for their imminent baby.  She said it went pretty well.

Amy took this picture of Kit and his very special glasses.
He's "helping".
I stayed home with Raylan while he napped, and I exercised. 
I was talking with Amy on the phone as she drove home from Shelly and Kit's when her tire blew out on Mopac.  This happened on what was, to my understanding, literally one of the hottest July days in Austin's recorded history.
She called AAA, but they told her it might take an hour and a half to get a repair guy out to change the tire.
I started to get Raylan up from his nap to go and get her, but by the time he was up and I had changed his diaper, the service guy was there changing her tire.
She made it home, but her car only has a donut for a spare, so we knew we had to get a new tire the next day.
Saturday night we started watching season 2 of The Expanse.  We both like that show.
For those who haven't seen it, it's a science fiction show that involves a future in which people have colonized the solar system.  Mars has essentially become its own independent nation-state, which seems to frequently find itself in tension with Earth (which is now governed by the UN).  Various smaller colonies exist within the asteroid belt and on various satellite and moon outposts.

I find the show to be pretty well written.  I particularly am enjoying the fact that the creators managed to pull off such an intriguing, engaging science fiction plot while still keeping the science of the show within the realm of things which are, at least theoretically, scientifically feasible.  There aren't a lot of hyper drives, warp drives, or stargates popping up on the show, but it's still really interesting and fun. The space battles are no less intense for a lack of laser or blaster fire.
Anyway, we're enjoying it.

So on Sunday I got up and got breakfast tacos for Raylan and I (Amy didn't want any), and afterward I took Amy's car to Pep Boys.  I walked home from Pep Boys because it wasn't that far and it was early in the day.  Turns out that it was pretty hot out there in the sun, anyway.  Not brutal, but I definitely got sweaty.
I got home to find Raylan and Amy playing in the sprinkler.

"Mom, if I just turn this sprinkler, we can both play in it!
Mom?  Mom?!?!"

Helping Mom water the plants.

Pretty hot out here.  Maybe Raylan need s small sip...
After playing with the water in the yard we took Raylan to get a haircut.  He behaved pretty well for the haircut.
Then he had lunch,

Then a nap.  Amy and I worked out.

In the later afternoon/evening, I had band practice.  It went well.
While I was at band practice, Raylan and Amy made some sidewalk art.

Amy and Raylan portray Chad, Mary, and Truett.
Amy made some really tasty chicken and pesto calzones for dinner.

More Expanse.

It was a good weekend!

Sunday, July 23, 2017



How's it going?  Pretty good?
Too hot for ya?
We've got months yet to go!!!

I spent most of this week down at an Advanced Criminal Law Course in Houston.  I lived in a hotel in a shopping mall for a week, sat in seminar rooms (when I wasn't watching the live stream in my hotel room), hung out with co-workers, and missed Raylan and Amy.  It's always sort of weird when we have these conferences in the middle of summer in these hotels that are attached to shopping malls.  This time it was super hot and swampy outside, while it was borderline cold inside the hotel and mall.  The whole thing messes with both your brain and your body a bit.
Anyway, I had some fun with my co-worker friends, but I missed Amy and Raylan.

This year's TCAO crew- Afton, Ruben, Christyne, Barb,
Jennifer, Carla, and Vicki
On the way home, following some insistence from Amy, I stopped off in La Grange and bought kolaches at Hruska's Bakery.  I grumbled a bit because the traffic was bad as I was trying to leave Houston, and I was anxious to get home, but those were some good loaches (and I'm not even normally a big kolache fan).  More importantly, they made Amy happy.

Kolache is my co-pilot
I got home Thursday and worked Friday.  It was nice to get home.  My family seemed pretty happy to see me, so that was nice.
The weather has been hot here, and pretty humid in the mornings.  Pursuing our usual objective of finding a way for Raylan to burn off some energy, we took him over to Barton Creek Mall to do some mall walking on Saturday morning before the stores opened.
It was fun.  There weren't many people there, and the few that were about seemed to mostly be senior citizen types who were out walking the mall to get some exercise without suffering the heat.  They were pretty amused to see a hyperactive toddler gleefully running around the mall.

"Oh hi, Mom!!"
In addition to simply running through the mall, Raylan discovered the joy of spinning in circles until he was literally too dizzy to stand up.

"Dad, I swear- if you help me stand up I will never dizzy spin again.
I swear..."
We also checked out an aquarium in the mall which was filled with beautiful, saltwater fish.

"My favorite is the black, plastic water filter, Dad.  I like that noise."
On Saturday afternoon Ryan and Jamie came by and hung out with Raylan for a while.  There were many books read and pictures drawn.  All of the adults at one point were busy constructing loops and ramps with the Hot Wheels track before realizing that Raylan had moved on to something else...

"Draw 'ineffability', Uncle Ryan!"

"I'm not sure that the security guard is respecting Corduroy's civil
rights, Aunt Jamie..."

On Sunday we went out to breakfast and went grocery shopping.
In the afternoon we went over to see Mary, Chad, and Truett.  Raylan sort of ran around their house like a whirling dervish, but he had a really fun time.

"If it really starts to rain hard, Truett, I say we make a run for it!"
Later, the six of us went over to The Triangle for dinner at Hopdoddy (which was good- they have a surprisingly tasty turkey burger), and then, afterward, Raylan and Truett played in the splash pad down the street.  The rain had passed, but it was still overcast, and relatively cool. (like 88, maybe?)

Synchronized splash padding.  Olympics 2020?
Anyway, we had a good time visiting with Chad, Mary, and Truett.
Afterward we headed home to get Raylan ready for bed.

That was the weekend.  As usual, it was too short, but I'm glad to be home!

Monday, July 17, 2017


Well, we had a pretty good week, and a nice weekend.
Below is a picture of Raylan that his teacher, Ashley, took of him at school.  They were doing a little unit about the five senses, and they used lemons to explore things like taste, touch, sight, smell, and... well, I'm not sure how sound fits into the whole lemon thing, but I'm sure Ashley found a way to make it work.
Anyway, this is Raylan using a sliced lemon as a stamp to do some art with paint.

Abstract Impressionism.  With lemons.
On Friday the kids at UTCDC have splash day.  They use sprinklers and hoses and little pools and water toys.  Here's Raylan doing splash day.  He likes splash day.

"Are you done with that bucket yet, lady?"
On Friday evening we met up with one of Amy's old library school friends, Christine, who was in town for a conference.  Christine works as a law librarian at, I think, Cardozo Law School, in New York.  Anyway, it was good to catch up with Christine.  We went to Chuy's, she got to meet Raylan, and we had a nice time.

Saturday morning we got up and actually ran an errand or two and grabbed some breakfast at Kerbey Lane (but a different one than usual!) before going swimming at Deep Eddy.

"Oh, pool slave!  Please be a dear and bring my floatie over here,
would you?"
Saturday also involved some grocery shopping and stuff.  I'm not exactly sure.

On Sunday morning our friends Libby and Jordan stopped by with their son, Rowan.  Rowan is like 9 months old and just learning to crawl.  We just played with the kids.
Amy hauled out some Raylan's old toys from a year ago.
It was good to see them.  Rowan had really grown since we had seen him last!

Later, I took Raylan over to the Garrison Pool while Amy got some exercise.  I'm leaving for a conference in Houston this week, so it was nice to get some Raylan time in before I have to leave.

And that was about it!
Nice weekend!
I'm headed to the Advanced Criminal Law Course in Houston this week.  I'm really gonna miss Amy and Raylan.  Hopefully it goes by quickly...

Monday, July 10, 2017


So it's summer for real now, right?
In Austin, Texas, that means it's pretty hot.
But I still love summer in Texas!
On the weekends, when I spend more time outside, I get more acclimated to the heat and it doesn't bother me as much.  When I sit in air conditioning all day during the week, the heat seems more jarring when I wander outside.  And, of course, the Texas heat makes for some great water adventures if you're at the pool or the springs or the lake or whatever.
And I just like all the light.  The bright, hot, Texas days during the summer somehow put me into a better mood.
I'm not sure why, but they do.

On Friday I picked up Raylan and we just went home and hung out until Amy got home.  Then we had dinner and just chilled out.  Nothing fancy.

On Saturday we got up and went to Deep Eddy to go swimming.  I'm here to report that the hotter it gets outside, the colder that the 70 degree spring water feels.
Raylan didn't seem to mind it much, though, and once you get in and get used to the temperature, it keeps you cool for a long time.
We ran into Danielle, one of my former co-workers who is now at the D.A.'s office, with her husband, Gavin, and daughter, Abby.  It was fun to see them and catch up a bit.  I'm not sure I'd seen Abby since her baby shower!  (now 10 months old)
Amy also ran into someone from the A.G.'s office, and Raylan ran into Milo, one of his old friends from St. Luke's.  So all of us ran into someone that we knew.
Anyway, we had a lot of fun at Deep Eddy.

"I don't really remember last summer too well, but I think that,
judging by this summer, so far I like summer."

"Look, Dad- there is some stuff that other people are not watching and
which I think I should try to take."
The rest of Saturday involved a family trip to the grocery store, exercise, and napping.  Determined not to let the heat get the best of me, I even rode my bike to the gym this weekend.
In the evening I grilled chicken fajitas.  It seemed to take a little while, but they came out well, in the end.
Grilled fajitas with beer are also a critically important part of summer.

Amy and Raylan wait "patiently" for me to grill the fajitas.
After dinner, Raylan had a small ice cream cone.  We're still training him to understand that you only get one ice cream cone per sitting.

"Go ahead and get my next one ready, Dad."
On Sunday we got up and went out to breakfast.  We went to Taqueria Arandas over by our house, just to try something different.  I think we liked it okay, but it didn't beat out La Posada.  Raylan loved the colorful decorations, though.  He couldn't say enough about them.

"-and over there is a picture of a pony, and over there is a cowboy,
and over there is a light, and over there is a fan, and over there is a
refrigerator. and over there-" 
After breakfast we took Raylan to play at Garrison park for a little while.  

"I'm running away from Mom!  I'm running away from Mom!
I'm running- Oh, hi!!"
After going to the park, we went home.  Raylan and I changed clothes and went back to Garrison to go to the pool.  Amy went to the gym and ran an errand or two.  Raylan and I had fun together, and I think Amy enjoyed her little break.
The rest of Sunday involved exercise, playing with Raylan, a couple of chores, and band practice with Reed (which was good).
Oh, and Amy made some really good, homemade strawberry ice cream!
That's about it.
It was a nice weekend!
Too fast!!!

This appeared on our refrigerator this weekend.
Probably says a little something about our family.  ;-)

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

4th of July Update

Hello!Hope everyone had a happy, safe 4th of July!

The Steans-Davis family had a hot, happy, summery 4th of July holiday and weekend.

On Thursday, as usual, my parents too care of Raylan during the day, including taking him to swim lessons at Emler Swim School.

Papa and Raylan synchronize their swim moves.
Amy and I both worked for a few days after Portland, but before the weekend.

Team Bonding- Ruben, Afton, and I hit the
Olive Garden for salad and soup 
On my drive home Friday night I drove past the new El Chilito that they've been building in my neighborhood, and I saw that they were setting up for grand opening festivities that night.  It was very hot and muggy on Friday, so I was convinced that no one would show up for the grand opening at 6:00.  I went home and changed clothes, and went back over there about an hour later, sure that no one would be there and I would be able to easily pick up some free gift certificates or some free tacos.
Instead, the place was packed.  There were pretty long lines for beers, tacos, and even to whack the pinata.  I wasn't able to really get any stuff, but it was great to see the neighborhood coming out to support a new, locally owned place.

I get the feeling that El Chilito is gonna do just fine.
We might even need another restaurant or two in the 'hood.
On Saturday we got up and, in the morning, took Raylan over to Garrison to swim in the pool.  He had a blast.  In the afternoon we all went grocery shopping together.
Sunday morning we went out to breakfast at Kerbey Lane.
Later, we ran some errands (got a new weed eater at Home Depot- very manly).
Eventually Raylan got some time to play in the sprinkler at our house.

Raylan the water sprite.
Sunday evening I had band practice with Reed, Frank, and Jim.  It was fun.  We played a few new covers ("Jolene" by Dolly Parton and "Midnight Radio" from Hedwig and the Angry Inch).  I had a good time.

Amy had Monday off from the AG's office, so I took the day off as well, figuring it was a good use of a vacation day to stretch the 4th of July into a four day weekend.
We had some of our friends (and Amy's co-workers) over on Monday afternoon, a sort of cookout to celebrate Independence Day.  Ryan, Jamie, and Doug (our special guest from way our west) were in attendance as well.  We just grilled hotdogs, but Amy made a corn-bean salad, a broccoli slaw, guacamole, brownies, and cookies.  Kit made a bean dip.  And we had beer and Topo Chico.
It was fun!
I'm going to try to remember who was there:  Kit, Shelly, Truett, Chad, Mary, Dan, Wendy, Kellie, Tommy, Amy, Rayln, and me.
Raylan had a blast.  That kid loves a party.
Thanks to everyone for coming over!

The view from the grill

Cooling off in the house

On Tuesday, the 4th, we got up took Raylan to a make-up swim lesson at Emler (he missed one while we were in Portland).  I'm not sure whether Raylan is learning to swim yet (difficult to say), but he definitely enjoys his swim lessons.  When we got there and I was getting him out of the car, he got really excited and kept asking, "Gonna play in the pool?" 

"Swim?!  Son, I will teach you to FLY!!"
After swim lessons we went to La Posada and had breakfast.  Afterward, upon Raylan's insistence, we walked down to the laundromat to watch the washers and dryers spin 'round.

Happy 4th of July!
When we got home there was some more playing in the yard and in the sprinkler.

In the afternoon we went to a cookout over at Jamie and Ryan's place.
We had a really nice time over there!  Good food, good company, and an appropriately festive 4th of July vibe.  Dick, Juan, Nicole, Jamie, Ryan, Mom, Dad, and one of Ryan's neighbors (and UT library employee), Ethan, were there.  Also Scout, Lucy, and Levi.  As well as a robotic toy R2-D2.

Ryan, the grillmaster (i.e., short order cook), takes orders before
heading out to man the grill in the heat
Raylan was super excited to have so many of his people gathered in one place.  
When we were leaving he told me, "No!!  I want to stay here forever!!"  (not sure where that came from)
Also, this morning when he got up, he told me he met R2-D2 yesterday.

So we all had fun.

It was a really nice weekend.

I fell asleep on Tuesday night to the sound of fireworks going off in various places throughout the neighborhood (mostly, luckily, not too close by), and felt really lucky to have had such a nice holiday weekend.
Not trying to be a downer, but the July 4th weekend was when Jeff had his accident back in 2006, so that weekend brought about some mixed feelings for a long time.  But we've been reclaiming it for a long time now, and this weekend was a really good one.
Hope everyone had a safe, happy holiday.